Difference between Stress and Depression

Key difference: Stress arises from our daily interactions with the world. Depression is a change in mood caused by a biochemical imbalance.

All humans have to deal with stress and depression in their lives at some point or another. The key is to understand the difference between them and deal with them accordingly. Basically, stress is tension, which comes from our daily interactions with the world. On the other hand, depression is a change in mood due a biochemical imbalance.

Stress exhibits itself in a physical, mental or emotional response to problems in our daily life, such as pressure at work, family problems, traffic, an interview, an exam, a confrontation, etc. These are things that one can’t usually avoid in life. In order to deal with these situations, our body is equipped with the “fight or flight” response. This is a physiological response that gives the body the energy it needs to face the stressful situation.

When we are faced with one of these situations, our body automatically increases heart rate, as well as the blood supply to the heart and brain. It makes more glucose available for quick energy, and breathing becomes more rapid. These responses are caused by hormones in the body, which return to normal once the stressful factor goes away. These responses are good for us in small amounts as they give us the strength to deal with the stressful situations. However, if the stress remains for a long time, or if one is in stressful situations more often than normal, these hormones stay up, and can cause problems in the body, such as a weakened immune system and heart disease.

Physical symptoms of stress could include headaches, an upset stomach, chest pain, high blood pressure, sleeping problems, and heart palpitations. Emotional symptoms could be worry, anxiety, sadness, anger, forgetfulness, and loss of concentration, while behavioral symptoms could include increase or loss of appetite, crying, social isolation, angry meltdowns, and abuse of drugs or alcohol.

On the other hand, depression is defined as a state of low mood and aversion to activity. This is usually caused by a biochemical imbalance in brain, which hamper the nerve cells’ ability to communicate with each other. These cells communicate using chemicals called neurotransmitters, some of which help maintain moods. If there is a deficiency in these chemicals, the person can experience depression.

Usually, a person would feel down or blue for a time being while the brain corrects the imbalance. However, if the imbalance continues, the depression could get worse. One might even need to take medication to correct the imbalance. Symptoms of depression include low energy, a loss of interest in normal activities, change in appetite, weight gain or weight loss, excessive sleep, insomnia, and the ability to concentrate. Continued stress can also bring on depression. Depression can have some severe consequences, such as an impact on personal relationships, job performance, and can cause physical deterioration through lack of care. A person with depression will usually feel extremely lonely, pessimistic and might even think about committing suicide.

Image Courtesy: personalexploration.blogspot.in, mymedicatedlife.blogspot.in

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